Central Districts 249 (Bracewell 61, Noema-Barnett 57, Astle 3-83) and 259 for 6 (How 81, Raval 59, McEwan 3-60) beat Canterbury 252 (Latham 81, Stewart 61, Bracewell 7-35) and 255 all out (Brownlie 135*, Stewart 61, Lamb 5-49) by six wickets
New Zealand fast bowler Doug Bracewell made a strong case for a Test-team spot with a solid all-round show for Central Districts in the Plunket Shield. Bracewell, who was dropped from the T20 and ODI sides for the England series, played a key role in Central Districts' six-wicket wicket win over Canterbury on Sunday.
Bracewell finished with match figures of 9 for 73 and a steady knock of 61 for Central Districts. His seven wickets for 35 runs in the first innings helped Central Districts dismiss Canterbury for 252. In reply, Central Districts mustered 249, powered largely by fifties from Bracewell and captain Kieran Noema-Barnett.
Canterbury put up a dismal batting performance in the second innings, going from 234 for 4 to 255 all out. The only saving grace of the innings was a 135-run partnership between Dean Brownlie and Shanan Stewart for the fifth wicket. Brownlie scored an unbeaten 135, his eighth first-class hundred, while Stewart was dismissed for 61. Central Districts' fast bowler Andrew Lamb picked up five wickets.
With a day and a half left to score 256 for a win, Central Districts played steadily. Openers Jeet Raval and Jamie How shared a partnership of 145 runs and a fifty from Mathew Sinclair helped Central Districts complete a comfortable chase.
Northern Districts 510 (Mitchell 136, Flynn 102, Southee 83, Kuggeleijn 5-72) and 148 for 5 (Mitchell 51*) beat Wellington 423 (Boam 102, Woodcock 76, Southee 4-97) and 234 (Brodie 49, Southee 5-52, Sodhi 4-105) by five wickets
Tim Southee made a fine comeback to competitive cricket, returning from a thumb injury that kept him out for two months, as Northern Districts beat Wellington by five wickets. Southee took four wickets for 97 runs in the first innings and followed it up with a five-wicket haul in the second, staking a claim for a spot in the Test line-up against England.
Wellington, who were put in to bat, were in trouble as Southee and Brent Arnel dismissed the top order cheaply. A 137-run partnership for the sixth wicket between Scott Kuggeleijn and Harry Boam stabilised the innings. Boam, who scored his maiden first-class ton, also added 87 runs for the seventh wicket with Luke Woodcock who came in to bat after retiring hurt earlier in the innings.
Northern Districts put up a strong first-innings reply, with tons from opener Daniel Flynn and middle-order batsman Daryl Mitchell. Southee blasted a powerful 83, which included 12 fours and two sixes, as he added 106 runs for the eighth wicket with Mitchell. Kuggeleijn was the pick of the Wellington bowlers, taking five wickets for 72.
Wellington struggled in the second innings as Southee and legspinner Ish Sodhi struck regularly to dismiss the side for 234. With a target of 148, Northern Districts didn't look in trouble even though they lost their openers cheaply. Mitchell's unbeaten 51 guided the side to a five-wicket win.
Otago 569 for 8 dec (Beard 188, Broom 103, Singh 3-168) and 4 for 0 beat Auckland 221 (Kitchen 74, Wagner 5-54) and 351 (Cachopa 81, Hopkins 74, Wells 4-74) by 10 wickets
Centuries by left-arm spinner Nick Beard and Neil Broom helped Otago beat Auckland by 10 wickets in Dunedin on Sunday. Beard, who came in to bat as a nightwatchman, scored a remarkable 188, while Broom scored 103.
After Auckland were dismissed for 221 on the first day, Beard came in to bat, replacing opener Aaron Redmond at the crease. He played out the remaining overs cautiously before putting up a special show the following day, batting throughout the second day and adding 239 runs for the fourth wicket with Broom. The left-arm spinner was dismissed on the third day, missing out on a well-earned double-hundred. His innings included 31 fours and one six.
With a massive 348-run lead, Otago had a definite advantage over Auckland. The latter put up a better batting performance in the second innings, with most of their batsman getting starts. However, the Otago bowlers, led by medium-pacer Sam Wells, struck at regular intervals as Auckland were dismissed for 351. Aaron Redmond struck a boundary off the first ball of Otago's second innings to give his side a 10-wicket win.